(uh-par-uhl man-yuh-fak-cher-ing) (n.)
The practice of producing clothing and accessories for consumers. Apparel manufacturing workers perform a variety of tasks including cutting and stitching textiles and other types of materials. Most of them work in apparel manufacturing plants. These workers may handle only one task in the production process, instead of performing all the work necessary to create a piece of clothing. The clothing industry hires an array of workers specific to the industry. These include pattern makers, fashion designers, sewing machine operators, cutters and finish presses.
Pattern makers are seasoned workers who transform the model created by the designer into several pieces of patterns needed to cut a cloth from textile. In making patterns, they use a computer program to sketch the parts and develop clothing of different sizes. Trimmers and cutters use these patterns to cut the needed materials. This can be done with the use of an electric knife. When cutting delicate materials, they use scissors and cut them by hand. Some advanced manufacturing industries use mechanized equipment to cut fabric. Sewing machine operators connect the parts of a garment and append zippers, buttons, and decorations. Other apparel manufacturing workers function as inspectors, packers, and many other duties related to preparing clothing for sale.
There are no specific educational requirements for apparel manufacturing workers. However, most companies favor high school graduates and candidates with prior work experience in an apparel setting. Some companies offer vocational training. Quick and accurate turnaround is required for entry-level positions, and workers are required to have good hand and eye coordination, manual adroitness and the facility to do routine work. Most starters take simple tasks at first and progress to more complex duties later on. Over time, they can move on to higher positions that require more skills as they gain experience. Workers who have vocational training may be promoted to supervisory posts.